September 13, 2020
（Manila Times September 13, 2020）
Rodolfo “Totoy” Tingzon, a former baseball player, school teacher and acknowledged father of youth baseball in the country and the whole of Asia celebrates another milestone in his life in the sport he loves most.
Totoy is turning 94 years old on Monday, September 14, half of which he’s spend in propagating baseball, a job he and siblings inherited from their father Julio, a topnotch player himself during his competitive days and, coach and maestro when he retired.
Totoy, he confessed, might not have inherited his father’s playing abilities that earned for him a seat in the University of the Philippines – Manila baseball team as a young recruit from Tacloban City.
Don Julio became a star player, co-founder of the legendary Canlubang Sugar Estate Sugar Barons, national team coach that carried the country’s colors in countless international competitions, including the First Baseball Federation of Asian won by the Philippines in 1954 and the now-defunct Far Eastern Games from 1913 to 1934.
Totoy, who played for the National University Bulldogs to earn a college degree, himself admitted his brother Julio “Baby” Jr. was a better player than he was, but accepted the old man’s leadership and managerial acumen must’ve rub on him later in his career.
After college, Totoy took the responsibilities of coaching and managing the Canlubang team when his father passed away, guiding the Barons to seven straight Manila Bay Baseball League title conquests from 1965.
In 1966, he was named to manage the Philippine to the First World Amateur Baseball Championship held in Honolulu where the Filipinos brought home the bronze medal by finishing third behind eventual winner the United States and runner-up Japan.
Inspired by that bronze medal finish, Totoy went on to organize the Little League Baseball Association of the Philippines along with Manila Times columnist Ka Doroy Valencia and several businessmen-sportsmen, including then PR practitioner, Dr. Dante Ang Sr., now this paper’s Chairman Emeritus aimed at providing grassroot program.
The move gave the opportunity to young boys from the provinces to compete in national and international competitions. Disappointed by the Little League International’s refusal to give the country, as a young member of the organization, field a national selection to the subsequent World Series Tingzon withdrew from the LLBI.
He then formed the Philippine Tot Baseball Association and applied for membership in the PONY (Protect Our Nation’s Youth) movement of the USA to continue his family’s tradition in the development of baseball and softball.
In 1990, after ending up second in the Asia-Pacific Bronco (11-12 age bracket) from late 70s, the Philippines aptly Christened the “President’s Kids,” in honor of their no. 1 supporter, President Marcos, stashed away with the Pony Baseball International World Series plum.
Tingzon’s son Rodolfo “Boy” Jr., is currently the Southeast Asian regional head of the PONY movement. Totoy’s daughter Liza was, at one time, the Secretary General of Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines.
His grandchildren and great grandson namely Rodolfo Jaime, Christopher John, Katherine Anne, Anna Melissa were all baseball scholars at the De La Salle University-Manila. His great grandson, Johan is a star player for the La Salle Greenhills Team.
Totoy entered politics to become Vice Governor of Laguna from 1980 – 1986 and then Congressman of the 2nd District of the province from 1990 to 1993. He is now retired, keeping safe and healthy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Sayang pare, plano ko pa naman isang malaki ng pagdiriwang ang birthday ko ngayon para magkita-kita tayo ng miyembro ng 365 Club (tayong miyembro ng ng 365 Club – an association of government officials, media men and busiunessmen-sportsmen founded by then Mayor Nemesio Yabut and Ka Doroy since Martial Law days,” Totoy told this writer in a telephone conversation on Saturday.
“Anyway, di bale, ipagdasal ko na lang habaan pa ng isang taon ang buhay ko para next year, in my 95th birthday, mas malaking pagtitipon ang magawa natin,” he said.
“I’ll be inviting everybody. Lahat ng kaibigan natin sa media, ikaw, si Dr. Ang, Willie Jurado, Recah Trinidad, Al Mendoza, etc. Sama-sama uli tayo,” he said rather excitedly.